Tuesday, April 30, 2013

As our wheel's keep turning so do the day's !

"Nothing Compares To the Simple Pleasure of A Bike Ride" -JFK

I can't believe it's going to be May already this week! It seems like time is just flying by ( as it usually does ) and the summer heat will be on our faces in no time and with that, a pretty consistent weekend race schedule come June and July.

As I think back to winter, I'd say for myself it was over all was pretty weak for snow, the skiing I would say was " so-so" however, turns are turns and that's all that matters.  I was still able to get some pretty gnarly fun snow rides in on the lower foothills and one up on Watchman after I got back from Chicago just after the New Year came. So when Spring sprung and some decent early season riding temp's came, I was excited to get out on my road and mountain bike and get some good rides in.  A few of us ( Usual Suspects ) through the winter / early Spring when the trails were ride able stuck to the weekly super fun hammer fest of TNR! A ride I look forward to every single week.  There were for sure some cold brisk night rides that made the beer and pizza down at Sun Ray taste that much better ( as if Three Picket Porter could get any better ! ) Even though, some of those rides were in the mid 20's, and there were night's with cold brisk wind gust's that reminded me of walking and running back home through downtown Chicago in winter season when the wind would rip through the buildings and make you wanna jump into the nearest coffee shop or bar.   It wasn't all that bad because I was with friends who enjoyed the thrill of it all just as much as I do and we were riding our bikes having a blast with the lower lights of  Boise as a back drop. To add to that , it always got pretty warm and sweaty as one of us took off into the darkness of a climb.  As much as I enjoy night riding and cold weather riding , hot summer riding and the opportunity to be riding up in the hills to almost 10pm sounds pretty darn awesome!
*A early season night TNR*

The beginning of February and March brought some good long road rides and a early season XC race in Echo, OR.   I was headed to La Grande to hang with my good buddy Zach for a few days so we made it a extended race weekend.   Red 2 Red in Echo was a all around blast of a time and solid race.  It sure felt great to get almost  30 miles of single track in with incredible early season 60 degree temp's! With a turn out of 500+ total racers and one heck of a rad single track course it was no disappointment.   I left Red 2 Red pretty bummed and disappointed with my result but had a lot of fun and took some positive things away from the race to use in the future.  If  Red 2 Red is in the cards for next year, I would for sure go back and race in Echo.  It was a great time, shared with some good friends and other fellow Eastsider's.  Nice work! * Steve, Page , Nate , Geneva, and
friends Deb and Zach *
*Eastsider's at Red 2 Red XC  * Nice racing!

Going back about a week before Red 2 Red XC race, we had our Team Eastside meeting at the brand new shop location. What a shop it is and how lucky we are to have Eastside as our shop and main sponsor.  A big thank you and much appreciation to Ryan for all he has done for us.  During this meeting besides, introducing  some new members, talking about future races, social team/club events coming up, and reflecting on fun times from the last mtb season and fun cross season ( OUCHY! ) Cory, our team director asked us to share some goals for the up coming riding season and race season.  I guess for myself one would be to keep up with Zuber on a TNR on of these days! I swear the dude is a secret night single track ninja!  ( you will see him and then just like that poof! he is gone! )  .  Some other goals, would to take racing and riding a little more serious perhaps ( no idea if it will happen ) . I have never liked the word " training " or followed any type of plan.  Pretty much just like to ride as much as possible when I feel like it, go hard when I feel like it,  have fun , drink good tasting beer, eat lot's of cookies, doughnuts, pizza, candy, and not worry about certain " training " rides and such things that I think sometimes take away from the fun of riding a bike.   That said, as some bigger races come this season and the summer season for riding comes, I wanna try and tweak my ways of the past.  I look forward to being somewhat a little more disciplined if you will. A few races I am really looking forward to this season and have high hopes for are------> *** 12 Hours of Disco , ( Team 970 here we go ! Cory and myself rocking a duo team ) , Jug MTN- XC, Galena Grinder -Marathon, Bogus Basin - Marathon , 9-5 - Solo , HC 100, and the Bogus Basin hill climb and The Werst Race hill climb in La Grande ***  It should be a super fun summer of racing . Looking forward to draining myself and racing with my good buddies on Team Eastside Cycles as well as other good friends in the area.. Best of luck to all ! Keep it fun, keep on peddling and ride fast!

Earlier I stated I look forward every Thursday , because with that , it brings TNR at 6pm !   It seems like for the last 6 or so I have thought " man that was a great TNR and one to look back on and talk about over a beer or two "  The last two weeks we had a great turn outs of 16 or so I think at the start and it was a ( T. of. T ) to the ridge kinda of night! Always a great TNR when you get up into the tree's in my opinion. The Sunday after, a few of us did the Ronde Van Boise as others did a solid day on the dirt. The Ronde was a great day of hammering hills with buddies Mark, both Andy's, Broken Spoke friends of Patrick and Tim. A day of total exhaustion and a good reminder of what the races will feel like come May, June, July and August. Awesome work guys , I think we represented Team Eastside pretty darn good out there on the road.

Back to the dirt! just last week we again made it to the ridge, however a few funny not planned issues came up!  My buddy Zach came along and I guess as we were headed up the pavement to the bottom of Bobs we gaped some people in the group. Zach was in the back talking and mingling ( no surprise there ! ) He said to a new comer " Well nice meeting you I'm going to catch up to those guys so this gap does not get bigger " The person ( don't know the name ) looked at Zach in total confusion why a gap would be forming and asked where are they going and why would they drop us. Zach simply said because it's TNR!  That isn't actually true, we usually wait for all to make a junction or finish a climb.  We then were headed to lower Corrals and the start of Hard Guy on a fun narrow technical  super beat up mine field like infested cow poop of a  trail and I thought it would be a good idea to come to a front wheel stall, go off balance to the right and luckily get my right foot un clipped, but it was to late..... Shaw on a brand new bike was heading straight into a HUGE thorn bush and over the edge! Ouch, sting, ouch, there I lay helpless. A picture would of been awesome but the feeling of a ton of thorns in my body was not the best feeling so I reached out pretty quickly ( I would of been in such big trouble if I was solo ) Mark and Zach both dragged by big doughnut eating butt out of that thorn bush.  The bike and beer was safe and sound ( thank goodness! ) so all  was good just leaving me with a bunch of thorns sticking into the Lycra and my from my fore arm's, calf and butt tox!   It felt nice and tingly for the climb up Hard Guy, it sure didn't help though as I got dropped like a sack of potatoes  As we finally made it up Hard Guy and ended the ridge road climb, I broke out some heavy bottled "special water" because Mark and Patrick both called me out and I could not disappoint!  Something was going totally wrong with my stomach half way up HG and I knew I was in BIG trouble!  Starting the descent down the ridge road , I had to stop and start a few times. Oh wow, did it not feel good,  I came up on the whole group stopped as Tim got a flat and that was my perfect chance to go get in touch with nature.  Good thing for pine needles and a plastic bag, no need to say any more !  Well, from then on all was good and pretty much smooth sailing to we hit Sun Ray.  While at Sun Ray.... Mark, Tim and Zach started going off like junior high girls talking about boys on the topic of Strava and times and who beat who on what day and who has what KOM and is behind or in front of on the leader board  Oh how it was super entertaining for myself and good friend Carl to witness.  Some how a two pitcher bet came up with Mark and myself to Zach that he could not clean Trail of Tears on his SS the next Saturday as we had a big ride planned and saving  ( T. of. T ) for the last climb! More on this later ......  

A gorgeous Saturday morning came and I found myself climbing up HG again, luckily this time not packing anything too heavy with the stomach and legs feeling great! ( thank goodness! )   For some reason no Eastsiders could make the ride , due to a road race the following day and family obligations. So Zach and I had a plan on climbing HG then going left on the ridge up towards Bogus till we hit snow then flip it and do Dry Creek, then onward to a lot of the lower foothills trails to make it a big day of riding in some amazing late April weather . Yea!!! well ....... the plan did not go as thought out. ( I will partially take the blame for it ! )  As we were climbing the free of snow ridge, pretty amped that we were back in the tree's, a younger kid named Daniel on a SS came up along side of us and asked if we were headed to Dry Creek.  I said we were thinking of hitting that on the way down! He looked at me funny and said " on the way down!? ., where are you guys headed? " I said well it's kinda of a exploration ridge road ride till we hit snow. We came up to one of my favorite trails Mahola !!!  ( Zach not being on it before and the temptation of going to check it out was to great once we came across it ) We invited Daniel to join us and he was all about it , with a excited go-get er attitude of finally knowing where and riding the great Mahola trail he had heard about! Warning him ahead of time I had no idea what it could be like and I assured him we would most likely run into a lot of brush, snow and it could very well turn into a adventure.  As it most defiantly did.....  He and Zach were all about it so we pressed on and scoped it out! At the start it was all clear, a few ankle deep snow patches but mostly clear of snow and the normal winter brush fall on the trail . It was such a blast and great feeling to be riding single track up under the tress letting cheers out and some " whoop whoops , hip hips " and laughter rocking grins ear to ear. Well let's just say that ended pretty darn quickly..... Not even close to half way of the loop , huge long snow drifts that seemed to be popping up all over the trail. Yet again I found myself post holing through thigh and high knee deep snow trying to roll the bike across and find some dirt! It came and went for a long period of time.  Sometimes getting lost and not being able to find the trail because the snow was so deep and long , side hill-ing worked for a while.  Good thing because at certain times the knee's and toe's were getting pretty numb! First tracks for sure, but will not go seek it out again for a awhile. We eventually made it back to the ridge where Mahola pops you out at the upper part and we were at a stopping point for a decision. Daniel had to get back down so we gave him some of our water and he went down the ridge to hit  Dry Creek. What a trooper he was. Cheer's buddy ! After some time trying to clean the bikes and talking we decided to not go up any further and head down to Dry Creek.  Finally! a almost fully ride-able singe-track trail in the tree's, with only a few big trees down and a few you had to do the roadie descent tuck to avoid smacking you're back.  Playing on some of the bridge's and smashing through some of the creeks sending water waves knee high we flew down Dry Creek happier than ever.  Just near the end, a not so friendly hornet got stuck in my jersey and " BUZZ! BUZZ!BUZZ! " I felt a few great stinging sensation's once again!  Coming to a quick skidding stop, I jumped off my bike and ran around like a fairy trying to get the hornet out, I whacked it away and that was that .  Chest stinging, swelling up quickly, bikes kinda of a gritty mess, out of H20, leg's a little out of sort from the snow hike and beer thirsty we decided to call the ride and head to Sun Ray!
* Snow hike on the back side of Mahola *
*Army crawl about to do down*

Getting down Dry Creek and BB road free of any more shenanigans we made it Sun Ray and got some Za-Za and brews.  Running into Nate and Saddie we shared great conservation, lunch and a few pitchers. The chatter of a T. of . T climb not happening and Zach not attempting it yet on his SS brought some fun banter to the mix of things!   After about 15 minutes of debating if we should go climb it or not we thought one more pitcher would make sense before we decided. Well it came and went pretty fast and next thing I knew , we were headed to Orchard and up Trail of  Tears at about 8:00pm.  Zach motored ahead on T. of. T as he was on his SS and I was following behind.  Not feeling good at all from the brews and feeling a little fuzzy things started getting blurry. I could not wait to get this dang climb done with and get to the ridge to sit down!   Finally we came together at the top and Zach had cleaned it on his SS (32-18) Ouchy!  and in a darn pretty fast time considering the day's ride earlier of 32 miles and 5k+ of vertical and then a Sun Ray intermission.  Bravo Zach!  . Feeling in a total daze up on the ridge we hung out for a bit then decided we better get a move on because we were losing light super fast ! Descending T. of  .T with just barley enough day light left to see the trail was sure a rush and one heck of a good time! Getting down to RC road off of Orchard just in time with no light left. All in all one heck of a day of riding , not the big ride day we were looking for , but still some great riding, good times, good laughs , some good snow hiking, meeting of new good people, lunch with friends on a gorgeous day and of course fun stories to tell and think back on!

* In a total DAZE! * 
* It was his idea for T of  T climb * 
Well as summer nears and races start up  , I look forward to seeing everyone out racing and riding with you all!   Until then keep it fun and ride hard !   See you out there and head higher !

Best- Shaw 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ronde Van Boise, 2013

A few Eastsiders and friends (Mark Schafer, Mike Shaw, Gabe Keck, Patrick Nagler, Tim Philips, Mike Sherman, Troy Nichol) all met up Sunday morning for the annual Ronde Van Boise. I was aiming to get some volume, socialize a bit, and test out the legs for what would surely be a day of challenging climbs. Plus, I had never done the ride before and was curious about the infamous “Ginzel” climb off of Hill Road. Even with Tour of Walla Walla going on, there was a sizable group gathered at George's for the 9:30 am start. George’s coordinated a Police escort which was an unexpected bonus and ensured a safe and easy warm up for the first climb of the day...Starview.

Immediately after taking the left hand turn onto Starview, Mark Schafer, Mike Shaw, and Andy Peterson were off toward the front. I tried to hold back knowing there was plenty to come. Chris Ganter, Andy Peterson and a few others immediately disappeared and escaped at the top of Starview.  I got to the front on the Shenandoah climb but then  almost crashed in front of the group on a patch of sand while making the right hand turn onto Shaw Mountain Road (yikes!).  A few hills later (after Horizon, Crestline, Highland View, etc.) I attempted to challenge Mark to a small sprint on the final 200ft of Pierce Park/Cartwright before descending into Hidden Springs/Dry Creek valley. Mark “returned fire” and hammered past me to the crest of the summit but then mentioned something about a snapping sound and feeling his bike flex unusually. This was quickly brushed off in order to descend with the pack down toward Hidden Springs and the next climb.

Mark Schafer's rear wheel - aftermath of RVB. 
George's provided an  aid station at the top of Cartwright summit. Everyone re-grouped and took 10-15 minutes to refill bottles, load up on gels and maple bars and donuts (thanks!!!!).

With the best (worst) yet to come...Mark, Mike, Patrick, Tim and Andy continued to challenge the front group on Quail Ridge and the infamous Ginzel. I imploded on Quail Ridge and attempted to recover with another gel. Ginzel was painful as expected – I considered walking it but walking it didn't look any easier than riding it. I aimed my bike for path of least resistance which included short recoveries on driveways and riding the gutter in the center of the road. Given the pitch and gutter placement in the center of the road, Ginzel actually seems more like an aquaduct than a road. After what seemed like an eternity I finally made it around the man-hole at the top of Ginzel which officially marks the end of the climb and made the descent. Pheew...its all "downhill" from here, I thought, knowing that only a few more "moderate uphills" lay ahead. The gel was kicking in but I had lost contact with the Mark, Mike, Patrick, Tim and the front group.

At the end of the next climb (Arrowcrest), I noticed Gabe holding an ice cream cone, compliments of Chris Ganter. Wow…that’s cool, I thought. Not long after I heard Gabe mention something about an ice cream headache!  Gabe, Troy Nichol, and a few others continued onto Torridon and Curling, making our way back to Shaw Mountain. At the intersection of Shaw Mountain and Table Rock, Adam Wirth indicated a group had proceeded back to the top of Table Rock. Again? I thought – that must be Mark, Patrick and Mike.  Gabe, Troy and I rode out to the end of the pavement on Rocky Canyon and then we separated at Table Rock road for what was basically "THE END" and the route back to my house via Strata Via. But it wasn't far up Table Rock road I ran into Mark, Mike and Patrick descending off Table Rock (#2). "You did Table Rock again?" I asked. "Yep" Mark replied. I decided I better do Table rock again as well. So I signaled that I was headed back up. Mark immediately initiated a u-turn and Mike and Patrick joined in on their 3rd climb up Table Rock for the day. Ouch.

After the "last climb" of the day, I showed the crew a short section of dirt trail leading back toward my house...if nothing else to add some variety and round out the ride with a little dirt and skinny tires. A quick descent on dirt and we were back on Roanoke. We then realized we had lost Mike Shaw. We turned around to find that Mike had flatted 1/4 mile from my house (75+miles into the ride). Sorry Mike! Finally, as we pulled into my driveway on Roanoke, Mark noticed his rear wheel was dramatically out-of-true. It wasn't until then he discovered that he had nearly pulled the spoke out of the aluminum rim on the climb to the top of Pierce Park.

RVB 2013 Elevation Profile

Monday, April 22, 2013

Eastside on the Dirt

Andrew Gendler sent out an e-mail Friday to drum up interest in a ride he and Bryan Warnock were going to do on Sunday.  The goal was to do some endurance effort for around 5 to 5 ½ hours with two trips to the ridge for some accumulated elevation.

Our ride's profile via a finish on BBR

Of course I was interested and questioned my ability this early in the season to do some sustained effort alongside some teammates that had already been putting in some training for the upcoming mountain bike season.

Saturday I started by putting in some effort around the house to clear Sunday morning’s schedule. 

Trail 5 climb.

Pleasantly, upon arrival I realized I was the fifth person to show up!  Good turnout for a 7am departure on Sunday in April for a long ride!  Andrew, Bryan, Cory Bolen and Ron Miller were waking up together in the Military Parking lot adjacent to the dog park. 

Keep it single!  There are consequences!
We rolled up Ridgecrest and shed our morning jackets and made for trail 5 – Curlew where we made fresh tracks in the ‘fluffed’ dirt from recent sheep grazing to Watchmen’s to play with the herd:

Sunrise Climbing.

Ron: “Do you see any black sheep?

Andrew:  “Just you Ron, since you are surrounded by Eastsiders

Ron: Our ride's Black Sheep
Quick decent on 5-mile to the junction before climbing to the start of Trail of Tears/Orchard intersection.  Steady climbing for over 20minutes put us on the ridge.  Trail 4 connector was as fun as ever with Hero like conditions (no dust, minimal puddles and we were to 8th street ready to continue down Scotts. 
Sumit of Trail of Tears (TOT).
Ron split left as we went right on Corrals leaving the Eastsiders the final push up Hard Guy to the ridge and back.  On the decent I suffered a flat (running a tube in the rear (pinched) and no Stans in the Front to ensure I ‘take my chances” – I used my only spare tube to fix and catch up with Cory and Bryan only to find Andrew 2 minutes down the trail with a slashed sidewall/slow leak after Andrew had mentally made note: "Wow, I am really lucky that I haven't had a flat on my mountain bike in the last 12 months."   Time to fill the Karma bank, Andrew!
Hard Guy out-and-back.

After finishing Hard Guy, Cory, Andrew and Bryan headed down Corrals to BBR to finish out the day.  I returned Corrals/8th/Freeway/Military to at least get closer to or more elevation than the roadies were getting on the Ronde Van Boise!  Not sure I got as much elevation as Team mates: Mike Shaw, Gabe Keck, Mark Schafer, Andy Filler and other non-teamies did with completing the road ride and ending with a bonus climb of Table rock or two!

Strong work everyone!  Again, it seems so early to having everyone riding so strong!  Can we maintain this to the end of the season or hit that mid/late season drop-off?!?  Time will tell.  What I do know, there will be plenty of single track and post-libations between now and then and that, my friends, will make all the difference.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Riding!

The first three ‘Mountain’ races have come and gone and spring is here!
Several Eastsiders and others have made the ridge already (some trudging through the snow), more people are making regular rides and more weekend/midweek rides are being figured out!  I hear how strong everyone is getting already this year and it shows in the handful I have seen!  I’m nervous to race with you all!
Steve, Rick, Andy, Patrick, Gabe, Zuber and Brian on the TNR - Nate just out of the shot taken by Shaw!

The next Mountain bike race is the Coyote by Brokenspoke Cycling on the 11th.  I hope to see many of you out there!

The following weekend I know of about a half dozen Eastsiders and other Boise riders who have signed up for the 12hrs of Disco in Salmon Idaho!
Should be a blast!  Stay tuned for more updates!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Trail Maintenance!

A few days after the annual ‘Poo-Pickup’ in the foot hills, Team Eastside Cycles had another opportunity to improve our trails by being a part of the largest Ridge to Rivers Adopt a Trail volunteer trail maintenance crew so far this year!  There were a lot of bushes to trim, trail bars to maintain and ruts and erosion areas to patch up!  All in all the work was done within two hours.  Happy runners, hikers and cyclists passed us with smiles and comments of appreciation.  We returned to the Cartwright trail head to an overwhelming amount of cars parked along the road as the parking lot was full!  So, we returned our tools and made space – Always fun to lend a hand!

See you on the trails!